It is never too early to talk about the NFL Draft, especially with a 4-5 record and a defense with more holes than a slice of Swiss cheese.
Although the Oakland Raiders’ playoff dreams haven’t been thwarted yet, it sure seems like general manager Reggie McKenzie will have some serious work to do in the off-season. Here are five prospects the Raiders could potentially, and realistically (no Saquon Barkley), draft in the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft
DE Harold Landry, Boston College
The Raiders could go to the 6’3″, 250-pound defensive end in the first round. The Boston College product is the second-best edge defender in the class of 2018, after Bradley Chubb.
Landry isn’t having a fantastic statistically season up to this point, only five sacks. However, in the 2016 season, he possessed an 89.7 overall grade, according to PFF. Landry has a good first step and uses his speed and hands to get to the quarterback, similarly to Denver Broncos’ linebacker Shane Ray. He is solid in the run and at the point of attack. With McKenzie’s love for the defensive lineman, he could certainly be a top target for the Raiders once the draft season rolls around.
CB Holton Hill, Texas
Holton Hill is a big corner and defensive coordinator Ken Norton Jr. prefers big corners. The University of Texas Junior has three career interceptions and he has returned all three to the end zone.
Hill also isn’t afraid to tackle. The long corner has played both man and zone in college. At his best, he can be the Kansas City version of Sean Smith, but at his worst, he can be the Oakland version of Smith as well. The Raiders need more secondary help, so don’t be shocked if the Raiders make a run at corner back Holton Hill.
LB Malik Jefferson, Texas
The Raiders have needed a linebacker for a ridiculously long time. NaVorro Bowman has been solid so far in his tenure as a Raider. Even if the Raiders retain Bowman, Oakland needs another linebacker. The linebacker from Texas fits the “new-school” NFL mold. He is versatile, can run, and can cover. Jefferson isn’t a bruiser but he can blitz and stop the run. Malik Jefferson is comparable to Alec Ogletree of the L.A. Rams. McKenzie seems to refuse to draft a linebacker early in the draft but this could be the year he finally folds.
RB Derrius Guice, LSU
Derrius Guice runs the football angry. The 5’11” LSU product is the second best running back in the 2018 draft, after freak of nature Saquon Barkley. Guice can run thru you or around you. He can catch the ball out of the backfield. The biggest concern for him has to be his pass protection. LSU doesn’t exactly sling the ball around so the adjustment to NFL pass protection could be a concern. His running style is similar to former teammate Leonard Fournette, however, Guice is smaller but possess better vision. The Raiders may choose to address bigger needs than running back in the 2018 draft but if they do, Guice could be a great addition to the offense.
OT Mike McGlinchey, Notre Dame
Donald Penn is nearing the end of his career and the Notre Dame tackle could be the perfect replacement. McGlinchey is gigantic, 6’8″ and under 300 pounds. He is a good athlete for his size. Best of all, he plays with a nice little edge. He fits into the Taylor Decker/Garrett Bolles mold. Speed rushers have given him some trouble in the past, against Georgia this year for example.
His minor troubles with speedier guys could be the reason he ends up falling to the Raiders. McGlinchey will be the first or second lineman drafted in 2018 so the Raiders may win too many games to snag McGlinchey. If the Raiders do have the option to draft McGlinchey, don’t be surprised if the Raiders grab the big man.